Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston Ecology Center celebrates 50th birthday at Earth Day Fest

Sarah Serota/The Daily Northwestern
At its Earth Day Fest, the Evanston Ecology Center had a birthday table set up to celebrate its 50th birthday.

Tents lined the field of Ingraham Park from 12 to 3 p.m. Saturday for the Evanston Ecology Center’s Earth Day and 50th birthday celebration. 

The Ecology Center has held Earth Day Fests for more than a decade. The celebration has evolved throughout that span, said Conservation and Outdoors Division Manager Margaret Isaacson.

With the Ecology Center’s building under construction, the event relocated to the park. 

The center hosted this year’s Earth Day Fest alongside 15 other organizations from the Evanston area. Various nonprofits and environmental organizations set up booths for residents to learn about sustainability efforts in Evanston. 

Edible Evanston, a program that is part of nonprofit Climate Action Evanston, set up a station to make newspaper pots, which can help transfer vegetable seeds into the ground. 

Residents also made seed balls — little clumps of clay, dirt and wildflower seeds they could toss in parks, yards or parking lots to grow flowers.

“We’re here to talk about (Edible Evanston) and get people interested in growing their own food or participating in some way,” Edible Evanston co-leader Lauren Spain-Bondi said.

Many other booth leaders said they wanted to increase community participation in sustainability efforts. 

The Rebuilding Exchange is a nonprofit organization aiming to create opportunities for people to donate and shop for construction materials to keep them out of landfills. At Earth Day Fest, the organization set up a bean bag toss with prizes such as candy and small toys for children.  

“We want to encourage people to come and visit our store,” Rebuilding Exchange’s Education Manager Nancy Bennett said. “We want to share the information of our mission. We want to get people to sign up and follow us. And we just want to have a little bit of fun here.”

To mark the Ecology Center’s 50th birthday, the festival included a table with photographs of memories throughout the years. The event also celebrated the center’s renovation project, which had its groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

Kacey Tait, the Ecology Center’s program coordinator, said planning the event was an entire community effort and required frequent communications between the center, community partners and volunteers. 

“It’s really not on any one person, but (a) very community-minded (effort) with everyone doing a little bit,” Tait said. 

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